“You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.” – Brian Tracy
Last month, I was walking by the streets of Dubai and saw those lovely two little girls laughing and swinging hands. They both looked at me with a big smile and said “Hi” at the same time with the same tone as if they were twin; however one was a brunet and the other purely blonde. I realised how pure and free we are born as children, but wait a moment… what happens to us over time! Growing up carrying all those limiting beliefs and judging others, drifting apart from all that uniqueness that childhood brings.
Here’s the problem: Somehow between childhood and adulthood, many of us quash our natural inclinations to dream and do big! And when we’re stuck, it’s not because we are held back by someone else…rather we hold OURSELVES back.
I myself when I was a child, had always tried out new things, and never feared how it would turn out. This resulted in great experiences and learning. Don’t tell me you never plucked a few leaves off a tree and crammed them in to your mouth just to see how they would taste? Building tents made out of bed sheets with cookies and no matter how small the tent was there was always room for one more friend to squeeze in.
Today, building houses is a big task for adults that take ages and a whole lot of money. No matter how big your house is, you are constantly complaining of lack of space.
When you think about all the struggles we go through in life, most of it comes from our self-limiting beliefs. “When we’re stuck”, it’s not because we are held back by someone else, it is because we think we are not good enough to be who we want to be.
Your limiting decisions have shaped everything you do. They have prevented you from seeing opportunities and maybe even discouraged you from trying at all. Time to bring them out of hiding! Once you do that, you have choice.
So how to identify those annoying devils? First, what do you say to yourself about that area? For example, if you’re having trouble finding a relationship, maybe you explain it with something like, “All men cheat” or “Women only want men who have a lot of money” or “Guys are only interested in younger women.” Anything you say to yourself to justify why it isn’t working out for you is a limiting belief.
Will that belief sound true to you? Of course! It will sound perfectly reasonable and valid and you probably can come up with lots of evidence supporting it! But it’s still a belief that is getting in the way of what you want. So unless you’re willing to totally give up on your goals and desires, it’s a limiting decision that you don’t want to keep around.
Another example, if you’re bogged down with financial pressures, how do you feel about it? Anxious? Angry? Hopeless? If you stay with that emotion and acknowledge it for a moment, you’ll find the limiting belief right beneath it. For example, anxiety might be saying, “What will people think of me?” Anger might reflect “Life isn’t fair to people like me.” Underneath hopelessness might be, “I’m just not strong enough or smart enough to figure this out.”
Now that you’ve dragged some of those limiting beliefs out of the closet, what do you do with them? In the Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) I teach, we have several specific processes to unearth and eliminate limiting beliefs. I can’t teach them fully in this article, but here are some steps to get you started:
Step 1: Write the limiting belief down. Play detective and follow your thoughts and emotions to discover the limiting beliefs that hold you back. Writing something down leverages the power of externalisation. There’s something magical about getting something out of your head and into written form. If you write your limiting beliefs down, it will give you perspective, objectivity and insight that you never would have imagined if you had just kept everything in your head.
Step 2: Acknowledge that these are beliefs, not truths! This is crucial to understand; just because you believe something doesn’t make it true. Viewing beliefs from this perspective is transformative in and of itself.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
~ Marcus Aurelius
Step 3: Change your thoughts until the belief changes (belief transformation).
The most effective way to get rid of limiting beliefs is to replace them with more empowering beliefs.
A belief is simply a thought that you think over and over again. With mindfulness you can observe and change your thoughts. If you change a thought consistently, then you’ve changed a belief!
Affirmations are immensely useful here. Let’s go back to the limiting belief regarding money, “There’s never enough money.” Every time you say “There’s never enough money,” “I don’t have the money,” or anything like that (to yourself or out loud), change it to something like one of the following affirmations:
· I always have more than enough money to meet my needs, wants and desires.
· I am open and receptive to all the wealth in the Universe.
· I always attract whatever I need for a glorious future.
· Wealth constantly flows into my life.
· My actions create constant prosperity.
Find an affirmation that intuitively feels right for you or create your own based upon the specific limiting belief you wish to replace.
Consistency is key with this practice. Continuously substitute limiting self-talk for more empowering self-talk and soon enough your belief will be transmuted.
Step 4: Consciously change your actions based on the new belief.
How would you act if you had this new belief? Act that way. It’s as simple as that. Act like the belief you want is your reality until it actually becomes your reality.
Using the example of limiting beliefs around money again, changing your actions doesn’t necessarily mean spending extravagantly. It can be as simple as expressing gratitude (and not guilt) whenever you do spend money. It can also consist of staying open to and actively pursuing more income, instead of just complaining about your lack of money. Another strategy is to not let money be the biggest factor in determining everything you do.
Do you think you’re weak? Start acting like you’re strong, lift some weights and you’ll gain strength every week. Do you think you’re a bad writer? Write every day, and after a year, you’ll be a better writer than anyone you know. Do you think you’re bad at talking to men/women (whoever you’re attracted to)? Approach 100 people in the next month and you’ll be smoother than a frictionless surface after that.
Do you see the trend here? Clarity comes through action.
The car has to be in motion in order for the steering to work.
Though this article focuses on a specific process, remember that there are an infinite number of ways to reach any destination. Thinking that there is only one way to achieve something is a limiting belief in and of itself .
In summary you can’t sit around and do nothing, expecting your life to magically change. You have to meet the Universe half-way through your actions. Visualise the action and actualise the vision.
Are you ready to reboot your self-limiting beliefs?